Members of the Waitangi Tribunal
The Waitangi Tribunal has up to 20 members. They are appointed by the Governor-General on the recommendation of the Minister for Māori Development. Members come from all walks of life and are appointed for their expertise in the matters that are likely to come before them. About half the members are Māori and half are Pākehā.
The chairperson of the Waitangi Tribunal is Chief Judge Wilson Isaac of the Māori Land Court. Other judges of the Māori Land Court, while not members of the Waitangi Tribunal, can be appointed as a presiding officer for a Tribunal panel.
A panel of three to seven members is appointed to carry out an inquiry. Each Tribunal panel has to have at least one Māori member.
Current Tribunal members:
- Dr Robyn Anderson
- Ron Crosby
- Derek Fox
- Professor Susy Frankel
- Dr Paul Hamer
- Professor Rawinia Higgins
- Dr Ruakere Hond
- Prue Kapua
- Basil Morrison CNZM JP
- Kim Ngarimu
- Dr Hana O’Regan
- Dr Grant Phillipson
- Kevin Prime
- Dr Thomas Roa
- Tania Simpson
- Professor Linda Tuhiwai Smith CNZM
- Dr Monty Soutar ONZM
- Professor Pou Temara
Past members still serving on current inquiry panels:
- Dame Margaret Bazley ONZ DNZM
- Tim Castle
- David Cochrane
- The Honourable Sir Douglas Kidd KNZM
- Dr Ann Parsonson
- Professor Sir Hirini Moko Mead DCNZM
Ngāti Porou, Ngāi Tūhoe, Ngāti Kahungunu
Chief Judge Wilson Isaac was appointed as chairperson of the Waitangi Tribunal in September 2009. Educated at Saint Pauls Collegiate, Hamilton, and at Otago University, Chief Judge Isaac spent 17 years at Burnard Bull and Company, Gisborne, where he developed an extensive practice in Māori land law and family law. He is the resident judge for the Tairāwhiti and Takitimu districts. He presided over the Tribunal’s Mohaka ki Ahuriri, Northern South Island, and National Park hearings and is currently presiding over the freshwater and veterans (kaupapa) inquiries.
Other judges of the Māori Land Court can be appointed as presiding officers for particular inquiries. They become Tribunal members while in that role.
Dr Robyn Anderson completed her doctorate at the University of Toronto, where she worked for a number of years before returning to New Zealand in 1991. In 1992, she joined the staff of the Crown–Congress Joint Working Party and prepared historical evidence underpinning the return of railways land to Wellington Māori. She undertook research projects for the Waitangi Tribunal and for claimants from the Hauraki, Kaipara, and Whanganui districts. From 2000 to 2003, Dr Anderson was the first history concept leader at Te Papa Tongarewa Museum of New Zealand, where she led research and exhibition development for history and Pacific cultures. Dr Anderson was appointed to the Tribunal in 2004.
Ron Crosby spent 30 years as a court lawyer, particularly in Treaty-related and resource management cases. He is a hearings commissioner and a freshwater commissioner under the Resource Management Act 1991. He has written several books on New Zealand history, including The Musket Wars: A History of Inter-Iwi Conflict, 1806–1845 (1999), Gilbert Mair: Te Kooti’s Nemesis (2004), NZSAS: The First Fifty Years (2011), Kūpapa: The Bitter Legacy of Māori Alliances with the Crown (2015), and The Forgotten Wars: Why the Musket Wars Matter Today (2020). Mr Crosby retains a deep interest in New Zealand’s back country and history. His interest in te ao Māori is constantly reinforced by his whānau relationships, his wife, Margy, being of Te Rarawa and Te Aupōuri descent. Mr Crosby was appointed to the Tribunal in 2011.
Ngāti Kahungunu and Ngāti Porou
For more than 40 years, Derek Fox has been at the forefront of Māori broadcasting. He has a diverse career spanning journalism, communications, broadcasting, local and national politics, and publishing. Mr Fox has had a hand in most of the major Māori broadcasting initiatives, including the battle for and the development of Māori Television and he served as the chair for the first Māori Television Service board. Mr Fox was appointed to the Tribunal in 2021.
Susy Frankel, FRSNZ, is a professor of law and the chair of intellectual property and international trade law at Victoria University of Wellington. After practising law in New Zealand and the United Kingdom, in 1997 Susy joined Victoria University of Wellington’s Faculty of Law and in 2008 was the first woman promoted to full professor in the faculty. She assisted then Chief Judge Joe Williams and the Tribunal panel as consulting counsel in their inquiry into the Wai 262 claim. From 2008 to 2020, she was chair of the Copyright Tribunal and from 2015 to 2017 she was the president of the International Association for the Advancement of Teaching and Research in Intellectual Property. She has been the co-director of the University’s New Zealand Centre of International Economic Law since its foundation in 2007. She has taught in several law schools abroad, including in 2020 as a global professor at New York University’s School of Law. Her scholarship focuses on international intellectual property and its nexus with the protection of indigenous peoples’ knowledge and innovation and on the relationship between intellectual property and international trade. In 2018, she was elected Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand.
Paul Hamer is a historian with extensive experience in the public sector. He has longstanding connections with Victoria University of Wellington’s Institute of Policy Studies and Te Kawa a Māui (the School of Māori Studies) and has a doctorate from Monash University in Melbourne. From 1993 to 2004, he worked for the Waitangi Tribunal, for most of that period leading the team that assisted Tribunal inquiry panels in the writing of their reports. From 2004 to 2007, he was employed at Te Puni Kōkiri, mainly as a policy manager in the area of Treaty settlements. During 2006, he was based at Griffith University in Queensland as a visiting fellow, researching a report for Te Puni Kōkiri about Māori in Australia, which was launched by the Minister of Māori Affairs in Sydney in 2007. In 2008, Paul returned to working for the Tribunal, taking a lead role in assisting the writing of Tribunal reports on two major inquiries, the Wai 262 Flora and Fauna and Māori Intellectual Property Inquiry and the Te Paparahi o te Raki (Northland) Inquiry. He also authored several historical research reports commissioned by the Tribunal as evidence. From 2017 to 2021, Paul was employed as principal adviser in the Rautaki Māori (Māori Strategy and Partnerships) Team at the Department of Corrections.
Professor Rawinia Higgins was appointed tumu ahurei (deputy vice-chancellor Māori) of Victoria University of Wellington in 2016. She was previously Victoria’s assistant vice-chancellor (Māori research) and head of school for Te Kawa a Māui (the School of Māori Studies). Professor Higgins came to Victoria as a senior lecturer in 2009 after holding academic positions at the University of Otago for 12 years. Her research expertise is Māori language revitalisation and, more specifically, language planning and policy. Professor Higgins is a member of Ngā Pae o Te Māramatanga (the Māori Centre of Research Excellence) and the deputy-chair of the Māori Knowledge and Development PBRF portfolio. In 2015, the Minister for Māori Development appointed her chair of the Māori Language Advisory Group, which shaped the Māori language legislation enacted in April 2016. Te Mātāwai was created as part of the new legislation and governs the Māori Language Strategy dedicated to whānau, hapū, iwi, and Māori communities, and Professor Higgins served as one of the board members. In 2017, she was awarded the Te Waitī award for te reo and tikanga at the Matariki awards and in 2018, she was appointed chair of Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori (the Māori Language Commission) by the Minister for Māori Development. Professor Higgins is the first woman to be appointed to this position.
Taranaki, Te Ati Awa
Dr Ruakere Hond is a longstanding advocate of reo Māori revitalisation and a key supporter of the Parihaka community. He was instrumental in working to achieve reconciliation between that community and the Crown, and he has held several leadership roles in Māori language organisations, including Te Reo o Taranaki, Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi, and Te Ataarangi. He has served two terms as a member of Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori and is a past board member of Te Mātāwai, which leads the implementation of the Maihi Māori language strategy. In 2013, Dr Hond completed a doctorate in public health, with a focus on Māori language revitalisation, community development approaches, and intergenerationally sustainable health outcomes. He is currently helping lead an Ataarangi approach within the Ministry of Education initiative Te Ahu o Te Reo Māori in Taranaki, Whanganui, and Manawatū, which supports teachers to use reo Māori with students in their education setting.
Prue Kapua is the principal of Tamatekapua Law and has an extensive background in resource management and the Treaty sector. She has supported whānau, hapū, and iwi claimants in several Waitangi Tribunal inquiries. She was a member of the Refugee Status Appeals Authority, the deputy chair of the Medical Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal, and a director of First Health NZ Ltd (a Southern Cross NZ Ltd subsidiary). In 2000, the Minister of Health appointed Ms Kapua to represent the interests of Māori women in the Gisborne Cervical Cancer Inquiry. She also advised the Ministry of Health on its Treaty policy in respect of a national screening programme. She has been a member of the Ministry of Health’s National Kaitiaki Group and an external specialist adviser on legal aid funding for Waitangi Tribunal claims. She is currently the co-chair of Oranga Tamariki Māori Design Group and chair of the Interim Te Ropu on Family Violence, Sexual Violence, and Violence within Whanau. She is the current president of the Māori Women’s Welfare League and a trustee of Māori Women’s Development Inc.
Originally a dairy farmer at Hikutaia (where his family still farm), Basil Morrison has served in local government since January 1971. He was chairperson of the Ohinemuri County Council from 1983 until 1989, when he became inaugural mayor of the Hauraki District Council. Mr Morrison retired from the mayoralty in 2004. He served on the Waikato Regional Council from 2004 to 2007 and was president of Local Government New Zealand from 2000 until 2008. Currently, Mr Morrison chairs the Local Government Superannuation Board, is a director of Civic Assurance and Civic Property Pool and is the honorary consul of Uganda in New Zealand. Mr Morrison is an independent hearing commissioner under the Resource Management Act 1991 for the Auckland Council and the Thames Coromandel District Council. Mr Morrison was appointed to the Tribunal in 2008.
Kim Ngarimu has an extensive public service career dating back to the early 1990s. She worked for Te Puni Kōkiri up to 1999, after which she worked in the office of the Auditor-General as a sector manager and co-directed her management and public policy consulting company. In 2004, she served as acting director of the Waitangi Tribunal. Between 2007 and 2013, she held the position of deputy secretary policy at Te Puni Kōkiri, and in 2012 she served as acting chief executive of the Ministry of Women. She is currently self-employed as a consultant and a professional governor, serving on a number of boards, including the Medical Council of New Zealand, Capital & Coast District Health Board, and Heritage New Zealand.
Dr Hana O’Regan has worked in the areas of language revitalisation, identity and cultural development, te reo Māori, and education for over 25 years. She is a published author and composer and is recognised internationally for her work in indigenous language acquisition and revitalisation. A graduate of Te Panekiretanga (the Institute of Excellence in Te Reo Māori), Hana is widely respected for her Māori language contribution, skills, and advocacy. Hana has held two director positions on the senior executive at ARA Institute of Canterbury, has been the general manager oranga for Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu, and has held many positions on national boards, review panels, and committees across the areas of education, Māori development, national identity, Treaty rights and policies, and health. Since late 2020, she has been Tumu Whakarae of CORE Education, a national social enterprise with a focus on equity through learning. Hana’s passion for education, community, history, and equity has resulted in a career committed to working with organisations, businesses, and individuals to support and enhance positive outcomes for learners and whānau. Dr O’Regan was appointed to the Tribunal in 2021.
Dr Grant Phillipson’s professional involvement with the Waitangi Tribunal began in 1993 as a commissioned researcher. In 1995, he was appointed research manager and, two years later, chief historian. He held that role until his appointment to the Tribunal in 2011. Dr Phillipson has written numerous research and historical reports commissioned by the Waitangi Tribunal, the New Zealand Māori Congress–Crown Joint Working Party, and the Crown Forestry Rental Trust. As chief historian, Dr Phillipson was responsible for supervising the Tribunal’s commissioned research programme and providing research and report-writing advice to numerous Tribunal panels. Dr Phillipson has published academic papers on questions relating to the church in nineteenth-century New Zealand, Treaty history, the Waitangi Tribunal, and Māori land.
Kevin Prime has been a farmer and forester in Motatau (Northland) for the last 50 years, and in the last 20 years took up bee keeping as a hobby. During that period, he has been very much involved in community matters with marae, runanga, charitable trusts, health trusts, community trusts, forest trusts, and educational, forestry, health, and conservation groups at local, regional, and national levels. He has also served on ministerial advisory groups pertaining to health, forestry, conservation, Māori affairs, the environment, Crown research institutes, land, and sport. He currently works as a commissioner with the Environment Court. Mr Prime was appointed to the Tribunal in 2021.
Ngāti Maniapoto, Waikato Tainui
Tom Roa is associate professor at Te Pua Wānanga ki te Ao (the Faculty of Māori and Indigenous Studies) at Waikato University. He is an expert in translation between te reo Māori and English and the oral and written history of Waikato-Tainui, Ngāti Maniapoto, and the Kīngitanga. He has researched and contributed to a wide range of publications on a Māori classificatory regime for flora and fauna and traditional ecological knowledge, the theory and practice of translating from and into te reo Māori, Māori men’s health, and Māori military history. Associate Professor Roa has served for many years in Te Kauhanganui, the Waikato-Tainui parliament, including as its chairperson. He has also been a member and chairperson of Te Arataura, the Waikato-Tainui executive board, and is a justice of the peace.
Tainui, Ngāpuhi, Ngāi Tahu
Tania Simpson is founder and chair of Māori development company Kōwhai Consulting. As well as having held senior policy roles in government, she is a director of Auckland International Airport and Tainui Group Holdings, deputy chair of the Reserve Bank of New Zealand and Waitangi National Trust, chair of the Sustainable Seas National Science Challege, and a member of the governance group for the Deep South National Science Challenge. She holds a master mātauranga Māori degree from Te Wānanga o Raukawa, is an accredited fellow with the Institute of Directors, and was awarded the Order of the Taniwha (second class) by King Tūheitia. Ms Simpson was appointed to the Tribunal in 2008.
Ngāti Awa, Ngāti Porou
Professor Linda Tuhiwai Smith CNZM is professor of Māori and indigenous studies at the University of Waikato. She has a distinguished academic career, leading many of the developments in Māori and indigenous research, establishing research centres, building international networks, and mentoring researchers. She is known for her work on decolonising and indigenous methodologies and kaupapa Māori research. Professor Smith was joint founding director of Ngā Pae o Te Māramatanga (the Māori Centre of Research Excellence) and a former president of the New Zealand Association of Research in Education. She has served on a number of governance boards, including the Health Research Council, and has received a number of awards, among them the Companion to the New Zealand Order of Merit. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand and of the American Education Research Association. In 2017, she received the Prime Minister’s Lifetime Achievement Award in Education. In 2018, she received an honorary doctorate of laws from the University of Winnipeg, Canada, and the Te Puawaitanga Research Excellence Award, the highest honour from the Royal Society of New Zealand for research in Māori and indigenous knowledge.
Ngati Porou, Ngati Awa, Ngai Tai, Ngati Kahungunu
Dr Monty Soutar ONZM has worked widely with iwi and Māori communities, in particular while writing Nga Tama Toa (2008), which told the story of C Company of 28 (Māori) Battalion in the Second World War. He has been a teacher, soldier, and university lecturer and has held a number of appointments on national advisory boards, including the Archives NZ Council, the Guardians of the Alexander Turnbull Library, and the First World War Centenary Panel. From 2016 to 2020, as a senior historian with Manatu Taonga (the Ministry for Culture and Heritage), he led a digital project on Treaty of Waitangi settlements in New Zealand. His latest publication Whitiki! (2019) focused on Māori participation in the First World War. At present, Dr Soutar is writing a series of novels about the impact of colonisation on Māori.
Professor Pou Temara is professor of reo and tikanga at the University of Waikato. He is a recognised authority on Māori customary practice and whaikōrero, having taught at Victoria University as a senior lecturer and at Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi as associate professor and as head of the faculty of Mātauranga Māori. He is a director of Te Panekiretanga o te Reo (the Institute of Excellence in the Māori Language), where he teaches and researches whaikōrero, karanga, and tikanga. As a member of the Tūhoe Waikaremoana Māori Trust Board, Professor Temara made several submissions during the Tribunal’s Te Urewera hearings. He has experience in dispute resolution, mediating between the iwi of Taranaki during their claims to the Tribunal. Professor Temara is the chairperson of Te Hui Ahurei a Tūhoe and the Repatriation Advisory Panel to Te Papa and has written widely on issues currently affecting Māori. Professor Temara was appointed to the Tribunal in 2008.
Past members still serving on current inquiry panels
Dame Margaret Bazley ONZ DNZM has held senior leadership roles in the health and state sector for more than 50 years. She was commissioner and deputy chairperson of the State Services Commission in the 1980s, where she was involved in the formation of State-Owned Enterprises and the development of the State Sector Act. She was the secretary for transport from 1988 to 1993, director-general of the Department of Social Welfare, chair of the Foundation for Research, Science, and Technology from 2001 to 2007, and a member of the Waitangi Tribunal from 2001 to 2011. She was commissioner of the Commission of Inquiry into Police Conduct, a member of the Royal Commission on Auckland Governance, and the chair of the Review of the Legal Aid System. Most recently, Dame Margaret has been chair of Environment Canterbury and registrar of pecuniary and other specified interests of members of parliament. She has received a numerous honours and awards, including the Sir Peter Blake Leadership Award in 2011 and an honorary doctorate of literature from Massey University in 2008. Dame Margaret was made a Dame Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 1999 and later made an additional member of the Order of New Zealand in 2012.
Tim Castle is in private practice as a barrister. He graduated with a bachelor of laws from Victoria University in 1973. Mr Castle was counsel for the New Zealand fishing industry between 1987 and 1992 and, following the 1992 settlement of Māori commercial fishing claims, he was retained as legal counsel for Te Ohu Kaimoana (the Treaty of Waitangi Fisheries Commission). He was chairperson of New Zealand’s statutory tribunal with jurisdiction in fishing quota appeals from 1996 to 2005. Mr Castle has assisted both iwi and the Crown in Treaty settlement negotiations. In 2014 and 2015, he was appointed by iwi representative leaders to undertake a comprehensive independent statutory review of the commercial governance and management structures for the iwi stake in Māori fisheries, with a view to necessary changes (now endorsed by iwi) to those arrangements for the future. He is the first Australasian member of the International Court of Arbitration for Sport in Switzerland, was the New Zealand representative on the International Cricket Council’s Corruption Commission and Appeals Commission, and is a member of the New Zealand Sports Tribunal. He was first vice president and chairperson and board member of the New Zealand Olympic Committee from 1994 to 2000 and a board member of the New Zealand Sports Foundation. Currently, Mr Castle is a board member of Drug Free Sport New Zealand and chairs the Pacific Games Tribunal.
David Cochrane is a special counsel at the national law firm Simpson Grierson, specialising in public and commercial law. He has more than 40 years’ experience as a lawyer in central government and private practice. His experience extends to drafting law for New Zealand, including legislation implementing the Māori fisheries settlement in 2004, and legislation for Fiji, Vanuatu, Kiribati, and Samoa. He had extensive involvement in the Marine and Coastal Area (Takutai Moana) Act 2011 and the Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga Act 2014. He is a member of the Commonwealth Association of Legislative Counsel and the External Committee of the Legislation Design Advisory Committee. He was a member of the New Zealand Law Society’s Law Reform Committee (2005–15) and the Legislation Advisory Committee until its abolition in 2015. Mr Cochrane was appointed to the Tribunal in 2014.
The Honourable Sir Douglas Lorimer Kidd KNZM was educated at Ohau School, Horowhenua College, and Victoria University, where he graduated with an LLB in 1964. In the period 1960 to 1964, he served in 22 Battery, Royal New Zealand Artillery, Territorial Force. After being admitted to the Bar as a barrister and solicitor, he joined the Blenheim law firm of Wisheart, Macnab and Partners in 1964 and practised as a partner until 1979. He was elected to the Marlborough Catchment and Regional Water Board in 1978 and was appointed by the government to the National Water and Soil Conservation Authority in 1976. He resigned both positions on entering Parliament as the member for Marlborough in 1978. In 1990, Sir Douglas became Minister of State-Owned Enterprises, Minister of Fisheries, and Associate Minister of Finance, and he also chaired the Cabinet Expenditure Control Committee. In 1991, he was made Minister of Māori Affairs, retaining the Fisheries portfolio. He was appointed to the Fisheries, Energy, and Labour portfolios, was the chairperson of the Expenditure Control and Revenue Committee following the 1993 general election, and from 1995 served on the ACC portfolio. During most of his parliamentary career, Sir Douglas was associated with the Territorial Force in his area, his final appointment being as Honorary Colonel of the Canterbury Nelson Marlborough Regiment in the period 1997 to 2003. He was made Speaker in 1996 and became a Distinguished Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in June 2000, redesignated Knight Companion in August 2009. Sir Douglas was appointed to the Tribunal in 2004.
Dr Ann Parsonson is a senior New Zealand historian. She lectured for many years in history at the University of Canterbury and is currently adjunct senior fellow in the School of Humanities and Creative Arts (History) at Canterbury. She has been a research associate at the Centre for Māori Studies and Research, University of Waikato, and senior research fellow at the Waikato Endowed College, Hopuhopu. Dr Parsonson has worked with Ngāi Tahu, Ngā Iwi o Taranaki, and Waikato iwi in the preparation of their Treaty claims, providing major historical reports. Her publications are on New Zealand history, Māori history, and Treaty history. Dr Parsonson was appointed to the Tribunal in 2001, and has been the historian member on a number of major district historical inquiries.
Professor Sir Sidney (Hirini) Moko Mead was the founding professor of Māori at Victoria University of Wellington and created the first department of Māori studies in the country. He was responsible for building the first university-based marae on a mainstream campus – Te Herenga Waka Marae at Wellington. After retiring from Victoria University, he established a tribal university, Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiarangi, at Whakatane among his people of Ngāti Awa. Sir Hirini was the chief negotiator for the Ngāti Awa claims, which were settled in March 2005. He has written many books, including Tikanga Māori: Living by Māori Values (2003). He was appointed to the Waitangi Tribunal in 2003.